The Emigrants, the latest creation by Polish director Krystian Lupa, will not be going to the Festival d’Avignon. End of a suspense that started at the beginning of June, with news that had the effect of a thunderclap in the ranks of live performance. On June 2, the Comédie de Genève announced the cancellation within its walls of the show adapted from the story by WG Sebald.
A decision taken because of the artist’s repeated breaches of the values of the theater, which, stipulated the press release from the Comédie, “are found in staff regulations, a behavior charter and the contracts signed with each artistic team” In rehearsal for three months in Geneva with his troupe of French-speaking actors, the creator would have crossed the red lines by verbally attacking his collaborator and translator, and by pushing the technicians to the end of their nerves and their strength.
Its deprogramming in Switzerland has opened the way to doubt for other places. Scheduled in July at the Festival d’Avignon then, in January, at the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, could the show still see the light of day in France? Almost ready (all that was missing, according to the actors, was three days of technical preparation), he had to find a place to be finished and the money to be produced. The Comédie de Genève has injected 430,000 euros into this project, which costs a total of 930,000 euros. The rest of the sum comes, according to our information, from the French co-producers and a Swiss patron (who would have withdrawn his participation following the affair).
“A human and artistic waste”
Tiago Rodrigues, director of the Festival d’Avignon, could not work miracles: “We urgently looked for all the solutions. But we were faced with a wall of financial, logistical and calendar impossibilities. Even though the show was close to completion and with Krystian Lupa, it still took a little time to perfect the technique. This weather we did not have. The cancellation at the Comédie de Genève also made the initially planned financial co-production of Les Émigrants impossible. For Avignon, the financial damage is major. We estimate them at around 300,000 euros. Not to mention the impact of tickets to be refunded if we are unable to replace this creation with another proposal. That’s what we’re going to do today. But it’s not easy to replace, at a moment’s notice, a Krystian Lupa show. For my first edition as director of the Festival, I did not expect such a baptism of fire. I sincerely hope that our decision does not mean the end of the show altogether. »
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